The Eagles moved back in the 6th round, adding a 7th round pick. When they got back on the clock, the Eagles finally added some help for the defense, drafting DB Blake Countess.
This is a really interesting pick. Countess played at Michigan for 3 years and then transferred to Auburn for his final season. He played CB and S. I’m really interested to see where the Eagles use him. Countess could play FS, CB or possibly in the slot.
Put on the tape and you see a good player. He has man cover skills. Solid hitter and tackler. He lacks ideal speed, but has good quickness. Lists at 5-10, 184. That is good size for a slot CB.
Countess wasn’t a guy getting a lot of attention until Auburn’s Pro Day.
Cornerback Blake Countess — 5-9 3/4, 184 — ran the 40 in 4.5 and 4.48 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-1 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.19 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds. He also performed 21 reps on the bench press. He worked out well enough to get earn a camp look by an NFL team.
21 reps on the bench is good for a DB. You see that strength show up with the physicality he plays with. He’s got a CB build, but it won’t shock me if they try him at FS. Should also be a good STer.
The Eagles selected a franchise QB on Thursday night.
On Friday they added an interior lineman to protect him. Today they added an OT, Halapoulivaati Vaitai from TCU.
I like this pick quite a bit. I’ve listed Vaitai to the Eagles in previous mock drafts. He is a big man at 6-6 and 320. He played RT and LT at TCU. He has good feet and is a natural pass blocker. I think he’s got the potential to be a starting LT in the NFL. He certainly adds a big, talented body to the OT mix.
The Eagles didn’t have to grab an OT, but Vaitai was a combination of good fit and good value.
Doug Pederson made no secret of his desire to upgrade the OL. The team has done that in the past couple of days. These are young, big, talented blockers.
One of the benefits from this move is that Vaitai can work at LT behind Peters and Dennis Kelly can focus on RT behind Lane Johnson. That helps both players, as they fit those positions. It gives the Eagles better OL depth.
One mid-round prospect I like is running back Wendell Smallwood from West Virginia. I’m not sure if he can be a starter in the NFL, but he could be a very good role player. Smallwood was the Big 12’s leading rusher in 2015 and caught 68 career passes. He has kickoff return experience as well. Smallwood is 208 pounds and has a good combination of speed and quickness.
I wrote this about him after the Combine.
RB Wendell Smallwood – Good showing. 5-10, 208. Ran 4.47 and posted great 3-cone time of 6.83. Only jumped 33.5 inches. I was impressed by him in the drills. Also looked good catching the ball.
I thought the Eagles might go for a RB with a bit more size, but Smallwood is definitely a player I like. He was a volume runner in college and is tough for his size. With Ryan Mathews not being the most durable RB in the world, the team needed someone that could be a volume runner if called upon.
Lots of things to talk about with the Eagles pick of OL Issac Seumalo.
My take – I liked the pick, but didn’t love it. There were other players that I preferred still on the board. I’m shocked Joe Dahl and Kyle Murphy are still available. I think each guy has the potential to be a starting LT. Christian Westermann is a pure OG, but he’s a terrific athlete with a good nasty streak. He played LG in college and could have been a plug ‘n’ play type prospect at that spot for the Eagles.
One of my issues with Seumalo is that his versatility is a double-edged sword. I watched him play LT, RG and C. I saw good moments at each spot, but it wasn’t nearly the same as watching game after game of another prospect playing the same position. That allows you to see the little things.
Seumalo looked best at C, where he played the most. I thought he was up and down as a G and OT. The Eagles were able to study as many of his 37 starts as they wanted. They also could watch the All-22 footage, which can be critical with interior OL.
Why not OT – Some people are convinced the Eagles had to add an OT to develop to take over for Jason Peters. That would have been nice, but wasn’t a necessity. Right now the Eagles have Peters, Lane Johnson and Dennis Kelly as their top 3 OTs. Kelly can be an effective spot starter and backup. The Eagles can also put Andrew Gardner back outside. He lists as a T/G on the roster.
Lane Johnson can still be the LT of the future. Finding a RT isn’t nearly as difficult and doesn’t have to be done with a high pick or in dramatic fashion. The Eagles can go get a LT next offseason if they want. That isn’t a necessity for now.
What’s up at LG – Right now Allen Barbre, Malcolm Bunche and Seumalo are going to compete for the job. Barbre has the most experience. Bunche is the biggest/strongest. Seumalo is obviously a player the Eagles think highly of.
Character still matters – Chip Kelly was very picky about his players. The Eagles have loosened up on that a bit, but character is still critical. Seumalo rated highly in this area. He was a good student. He was a team captain. Seumalo was selfless with his willingness to move all over and not just stay at one spot.
He is the son of a college assistant. That may not sound like a big deal, but kids of football coaches often learn to truly love the sport. Anyone can love playing for 3 hours on Saturday or Sunday, but it takes someone truly dedicated to love practice, working out and film study. That stuff isn’t fun to the average person. The son of a coach appreciates the work that goes into being ready for games and is more likely to understand the value of that preparation.
What’s up at C – Jason Kelce is the Eagles starting Center. That said, the Eagles have much better depth there. Stefen Wisniewski has started there in the NFL. Josh Andrews and Barrett Jones are backups with potential. Now you have Seumalo in the mix. That’s a lot of guys who could play C.
I don’t think Kelce is in danger of losing his job, but I do think the Eagles want to push him a bit. There is no question that he needs to play better this year.
Is Seumalo the Jordan Hicks of interior OL – It would be pretty darn cool if Seumalo got on the field and played at a high level. We’ll have to see how that goes. I think he has the potential to play this year. I’ve told this story quite a few times over the years, but it bears repeating. I watched a small school all-star game in 2005. There was a kid playing LT that there was some buzz on. I remember writing after the game that the player had some potential, but needed a lot of work and wouldn’t be playing any time soon, especially at LT. I went to Training Camp a few months later. With Tra Thomas hurt, there was rookie Todd Herremans at LT. And doing a solid job. You never know how prospects are going to adjust to the NFL. Put them in a spot and coach them up.
I don’t anticipate Seumalo starting this year, but he will get a shot to win playing time. He has the size, skill and athleticism to win a job and contribute right away.
I’m looking forward to seeing him settle in at one spot and show what he can do.
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